Goats in the field
Goats in the field


There is so much to get done on the farm this weekend, that, of course, I cannot bear to think of it! Instead of productively planning out the weekend’s course of action during this train ride, I’ve found myself trying to determine whether I’m the “best worst friend” or the “worst best friend”.

Perhaps you can be the judge.

I’m approaching my “1/3 life crisis”, which means that I have accumulated enough data upon which to identify major trends and characteristics.  Today’s analysis:  friendships.  My friendships tend to be both fleeting and permanent. I listen much more than I speak (a skill which is a blessing for my patients), so within a short amount of time (sometimes even a 2 hour train ride) I will know your every fear and longing as well as most of the deep-seated issues you have with your parents and/or your significant other.  Try me.  Case in point, if you are reading this blog, consider yourself befriended.  I already know a lot about you.

The result is that I have hundreds of friends, and while I may not speak to one of them for years and years, when we do have the chance to reconnect or cross paths, I can pick up not just where we left off, but exactly where we are now.  Once you have a fundamental understanding of where a person is coming from, it’s not that difficult to know or see where they are going.

Having “bought the farm”, presumptively as a place to retire (40 years from now!!)—I’m paying very special attention to all of the new friends that have come into my life since moving into The Beekman .  Many of them you have heard me speak of them in prior blogs, and the list of fascinating, wondrous people surrounding us in Sharon Springs just keeps on growing.  Knowing virtually nothing about farming or country life, you can bet that my listening skills are coming very much in handy.

As a result, we’ve decided to expand the BEEKMAN 1802 blogosphere to include all of these other fonts of knowledge.  As you can see, we’ve re-designed the blogs.  The newest addition is our “wine blog for everyday people” entitled “Nepenth” written by our friend and neighbor Ross Wassermann. And over the next year, several additional blogs will be added.  All of them will focus on the artisanal, the historic, and the seasonal – and I guarantee you’ll learn something right along with us. I’ll keep doing my blogs each week, but at some point you are bound to get bored with them, so I thought having a few diversions would be a friendly gift to provide until you decide you really must know what I’m up to again.

I’ve often spoken of how important  it is to share experiences with others, and I’m finding that in this rural location, that spirit is more honestly displayed than it is in the high-rises of our other neighborhood – NYC.

How nice it was to arrive at the farm this week to find several packages from friends on our doorstep.

Pickled green beans
Pickled green beans

We gave our friend Kat, (AOL’s Food Editor) permission to pillage The BEEKMAN 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Garden while we were away this week, and she re-gifted us with pickled watermelon, watermelon preserves, pickled green beans and nasturtium pesto (I promise to write about the latter in the new HowToo blog once we’ve had a chance to sample it)

Popping corn
Popping corn

The Cookesons—a retired physician and his wife–dropped off this jar of popcorn from their garden along with a suggestion for a popcorn polenta.  Doesn’t this sound interesting?  No doubt it will have a dedicated blog entry, too.

Plum delicious

Our friend Deb took time off from her soap-making responsibilities to harvest these plums and make plum preserves!

Also, Handyman Dan (who keeps the Beekman humming) found an antique shoe stretcher and kindly decided that it would look good in  Judge Beekman’s home.  “Generous” doesn’t begin to describe Dan.

We even got a note from one of the regular blog readers saying that he had framed some of the Beekman photos from last week’s blog.  You can see the results in the “Readers’ Share” section of the website.  Notice how clever he was to include his hand-written thank you note in the photograph.

The most important chore this weekend may very well be counting blessings.  I’m going to put that at the very top of my list.

“TO” TRAIN REPORT: (Each week I’ll give a quick status recap of the train trip to and from The Beekman)

On time

I was eavesdropping.  Two old college friends—beautiful blond women- who had not seen each other for three years happened to bump into one another on the train.  I always find it so interesting when things like that happen (which is the only reason I was eavesdropping!).  Their conversation was full of gossip about people from their past.  It was just like listening to one of those old teleplays on the radio.


This has been an incredibly rainy summer at the farm.  Even in late August the foliage and grass is still lush and green.  In fact, this past week was the first week without rain in a very long time.  Turns out that there is truth behind that old saying that you must make hay while the sun shines.

The hayloft
The hayloft

In one afternoon, Farmer John managed to cut and bundle 1,050 bales of hay.  He’s nearly filled the hay loft meaning the goats will have a very luxuriant winter.   How did he accomplish this?  His sister, Linda Bartlett, her two sons, Zachary and Jacob, and their friend Brett Ullman all pitched in for the afternoon to help.  It’s kind of amazing, in this day and age, to find people willing to give so freely of their busy time. Does it make it even more jaw-dropping if I reveal that these kids are teenagers?  I think so.

Of course, Farmer John is very good with families – his own, and others’. The current herd of goats residing at Beekman numbers around 70, and John knows every single one of their names AND their entire lineage.  His trick?  He keeps track of the lineage by giving each offspring a name using the same first initial as that of the mother.  Very clever.

All of this talk of friends and family reminds me to mention that in September we are going to send out our first “friends and family” e-newsletter for all of those people who supported the launch of BEEKMAN 1802.  Be sure to subscribe to get it your email, and a special gift from us.

And one last thing….thank you.


On-time (timeliness in both directions in one weekend is virtually unprecedented!)

Very quiet, and we were in a train car that had so much leg room that I could barely get my feet to reach the foot rest.

by Dr. Brent

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